I just finished breakfast.
I meander down the main road of Lalo, clouds dot the sky like a fleet of invading UFOs, birds chirp constantly like the background hum of a refrigerator.
4 toddlers are pouncing on all four limbs, pretending to be cats, I think.
My name, slices through the air. John, I have learned, can be an interjection. I swivel in every direction giving a meager wave. I arrive home and look at my cluttered house. Dirty clothes encumber the floor, dirty, but still a few wears left, clothes are balled on a table. Magazines spew from the bottom of my mattress; books have tumbled off my impromptu bookshelf, vitamin bottles as bookends.
Hmm, not too bad. I corral the dirty clothes and toss them into a drawstring sleeping bag, uh, bag. My dirty laundry bin. There, clean enough. I plop down on the mattress. A thought strikes me like a sucker punch to the back of the head. What am I going to do today? I glance to the right, the power strip is pulsing like the noses of Santa’s reindeer during a blizzard without Rudolph.
Shucks, no power. I recall the night before. Falling asleep with the computer on my bare chest watching The Muppets. Computer at 60% power that will work. I reach out to my left, stretching, contorting my body, just out of my fingertips reach, one more desperate flail, got it. My book. Empire of Silver a slightly above average historical fiction novel about Ghengis Khan. I flip open the book and read. Time flows by like a charging Mongol’s hair into the sweet amphitheater of battle.
After a while I have to pee. A weak attempt is made to find my watch. No beans. I go take a piss.
On my journey back from the bathroom Mekdes, the midwife in Lalo, spots me. “Kotu, buna dhuga!” she hollers. I slip off my shoes and enter her home. It’s Muuza, Kanjay, Mekdes and me. 3 women and me. An odd mixture of people. Well, normal except for me. They ask what I’m doing, I respond nothing, and reciprocate the question. Not too much on their end either. I sip on my coffee. For a minute and a half I try to understand their conversation. I kind of get it, something about someone’s salary getting raised by 2000 birr. Once the minute and a half elapses I zone out, staring at a smudge on Jesus Christ’s perfect white robe. Just one of the six Jesus affiliated posters adorning the walls. Every two minutes I get snapped back to reality by one of the women telling me to play. I utter okay and repeat the aforementioned process. After 3 cups of coffee I start wondering what Ghengis’ hijinks are up to. I mutter something about work. I bid them adoo.
Before splaying out for the afternoon I make sure to snap off 6 bananas for lunch. I smile to myself as I do so, proud of my foresight. As I bunch up my sleeping back against the wall for a pillow a grin stretches across my face. I wonder if this is the closest to zen I’ll experience. I wonder in 5 years, 10 years, 12 years, 3 months and 2 days if I’ll appreciate these days even more. No work now, no constant stream of information to pester me, no notifications, no network, no power. I peel open a banana the size of my middle finger, lean back against my sleeping bag pillow and let the afternoon heat sap my will to stay awake.